Army wife is convicted of plotting to murder her sergeant husband with her secret soldier lover who eventually shot him so the pair could be together and pocket the life insurance
Kemia Hassel, 22, was convicted Thursday for plotting to kill her husband of one year, Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III
Prosecutors say her 24-year-old lover Jeremy Cuellar, a solider, fatally shot Tyrone Hassel, 23, in the head and neck
The father-of-one was in St. Joseph Township, Michigan visiting family on New Year’s Eve
When he left his father’s house to bring his wife food and she contacted Cuellar to go to the scene
Hassel and Cuellar were having an affair and the mother confessed to the plan on a prison phone call and to cops in an interview
All three were soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia
Kemia Hassel’s sentencing is on August 29 and she faces life in prison
The dead man’s father is planning on getting custody of his two-year-old grandson, he claims he has not seen since the murder
Cuellar is in custody on a $2.5 million bond, and will be tried in August on first degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges
Army specialist Kemia Hassel [right], found guilty in the murder of her husband – Kemia was convicted Thursday for plotting to kill Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III [left]
The US Army private from Michigan who plotted the assassination of her husband, a w a US Army sergeant has been found guilty of murder and faces life in prison.
Pfc Kemia Hassel, 22, was convicted Thursday by a Berrien County jury in the death of Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III, following a three-day trial that saw 23 witnesses testify for the prosecution.
Hassel III, a 23-year-old who shared, was fatally shot in the head and neck during an ambush on New Year’s Eve by a fellow soldier.
Prosecutors said Kemia Hassel told police she spent months planning her husband’s death so she could continue a romantic relationship with Cuellar.
The deceased man’s father said the videotaped police interview was shocking. He had spent two weeks with Kemia after his son was killed.
‘It’s just like, she’s the devil. You know, listening to that she was just saying it, I’ve had plenty of conversations with her so just hearing her in her own regular tone with no sympathy, it’s like who are you? We never knew you,’ Tyrone Hassel II told ABC 57.
Authorities say she also confessed during a recorded jailhouse phone call to her mother. It was played in court as well as video from the police interview.
Kemia didn’t take the stand and it took the jury one hour and eight minutes to come to a decision.
Judge Angela Pasula set Kemia Hassel’s sentencing for August 29.
Police say that Kemia [seen with her husband Tyrone], admitted she was unhappy in her marriage, but didn’t want to divorce him as she’d no longer be a beneficiary of his life insurance policy
‘Unfortunately whenever your client is the main source of the case against your client, it’s a very difficult obstacle to overcome,’ Kemia’s law Chris Kessler said in a video obtained by ABC. ‘I’m certainly disappointed. I’m disappointed for Kemia. I’m disappointed for her family as well.’
The active duty sergeant was leaving a family party and was on his way to take his wife a plate of food when he was gunned down after texting to say he was leaving at 10.48pm. Kemia had called her husband at 10.18pm and called Cuellar after her husband confirmed he was leaving.
He was shot around 11.10pm after Cuellar had tried three times previously to kill him, including earlier that day.
Physical evidence showed Cuellar tried four times to kill Hassel III. He has left the Benton Harbor area on December 31 and cell tower records show when he returned.
An IT specialist spoke about how Kemia searched ‘how to delete Snapchat,’ ‘active-duty soldier killed on New Years Eve’ and ‘what do I do after my house is paid off’.
Cuellar activated a new phone January 1 and it pinged a cell tower in Georgia on January 6 while his old phone remained in Chicago.
The couple had a son together and his paternal grandfather said he hasn’t seen the child since the murder. He plans to pursue custody.
‘It feels good, but it’s kind of bittersweet,’ Hassel II said. ‘Some of the ways you look at her and feel sorry, but then you got to get to reality of what she really did and then you can’t feel sorry for her and in another sense you hate her.’
Kemia said in a signed affidavit that she plotted to kill her spouse because he was becoming a burden on her romantic fling.
Police say Kemia told them she was unhappy in her marriage, but didn’t want to divorce him as she’d no longer be an eligible beneficiary to his life insurance policy.
Military officials provide a $100,000 death gratuity to next-of-kin when a service member dies while on active duty.
Life insurance for service members can also pay up to $400,000 after a soldier’s death, according to the Army Times.
Corresponding with Cuellar via Snapchat as they were both deployed in South Korea, the pair allegedly discussed ways in which to remove Tyrone from the picture permanently, it is claimed.
Prosecutors allege the pair used the app to exchange ideas under the belief the temporary nature of the messages would make it difficult for police to trace.
Kemia plotted to kill her husband, Sgt Tyrone Hassel, [L-R] because he was becoming a burden on her romantic fling with fellow soldier Jeremy Cuellar
He was awarded the Army Achievement Medal, The German Army Proficiency Badge and completed a nine-month rotation in South Korea.
‘Such a good man lost his life. A good family man, a good friend,’ prosecutor Steve Pierangeli said. ‘I’m just happy we could deliver justice.’
Cuellar is in custody on a $2.5 million bond, and will be tried in August on first degree premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges.
Edwin Johnson, Cuellar’s lawyer, previously said it would be hard to pin the shooting on his client.
‘No one saw him at the scene. He was going to give up on this. He wasn’t going to do it. There were several other suspects,’ Johnson said.